The Trouble with Adric

By Murray Jackson

The TARDIS was behaving itself for once. After bouncing off a couple of binary star systems it had instead pursued its set course, ignoring all planets along the way and remaining completely oblivious to the events going on inside it. Not that anything out of the ordinary was going on - at least not yet!

Adric was eating again!! There were some tastes in the Universe so far out, so unbelievably groovy, so incredibly tasty that you has to take a week off from what you were doing to get over the initial shock of eating something so amazing. In fact the planet Yarzatz IV does a roaring trade in rehabilitation clinics for those beings who succumb to 'tastebud overload'.

Unfortunately Adric had chosen to ignore the above and concocted a gastronomical disaster called a Skennishlob Icecream. It looked disgustingly like a congealed blob of jellymeat atop a crumbly fibreboard cone, and smelling evilly of vegemite, tobacco, bovril and the contents of some intergalactic cowshed after the cows have left. Adric greedily tucked in.

He walked into the console room, and after a few slurps noticed the Doctor bending down by the console.

“Are you busy, Doctor?” Adric asked.

“No, no, I was trying to hide from you, but it hasn't worked,” came the reply. Adric really hated it when the Doctor was sarcastic. He would have hated it even more .if he had known that the Doctor was perfectly serious. The Doctor looked up, for a moment, an expression of distaste on his face.

“Did someone die in here?”

“No, Doctor, it's just my icecream,” retorted Adric.

“Smells like a lavatory,” mused the Doctor as he returned to work.

“What are you doing?” enquired Adric.

“I'm trying to map the TARDIS, something I try every century or so,” replied the Doctor, head buried under the TARDIS console. A projection of the TARDIS rooms appeared on the viewer a moment later.

“Don't touch the console, Adric,” yelled the Doctor, “I've tied the jettison controls into the viewer. I'm going to trim off a few rooms and knowing your ability for clumsiness you'll cause an absolute...”

At that moment Adric tripped on the Doctor's scarf, his icecream flying through the air. Adric juggled it a few times before it landed on a large red button marked 'jettison'. A deep moan issued from the TARDIS machinery and the lights dimmed before resuming their normal brightness. Adric tensed, knowing deep down he was in some pretty deep shit.

The Doctor looked up, a wide-eyed manic expression on his face. His large teeth were clenched and his entire appearance made him look like some hysterical monkey.

“You didn't did you?” the Doctor asked calmly.

Adric nodded dumbly.

“You idiotic, imbecilic, practitioner of crass stupidity!! You moronic ass-brained, half-witted spackhead!! You. orifice!!!” screamed the Doctor.

Adric nodded dumbly. “I'm sorry Doctor, it was my icecream,” he mumbled.

“Your icecream!” spluttered the Doctor, “you mean your icecream walked to the console, jumped up and dripped itself all over the jettison button!! Are you telling me your icecream is responsible for jettisoning one third of my TARDIS?!!”

Adric nodded dumbly.

Romana woke to the sound of shouting. She sighed and rolled over on her bed. Just the Doctor beating the hell out of Adric again. She would have gone right back to sleep had not K9 piped up.

“Danger, mistress, danger,” burbled the metallic dog.

“Sod off, K9, I'm trying to get some sleep,” said Romana, annoyed at being disturbed.

“Sleep is inadvisable due to current emergency,” countered K9.

Romana stirred. “ If this is your idea of a joke I'll tear out your diodes and feed them to you one by one orally,” she barked pulling on the first clothes she could find.

“No humorous connotation intended, mistress,” announced K9 sunnily. He followed her out of the room as she sauntered off to the console room. Life was tough for K9 - nobody liked a smartass, especially not a mechanical one.

Romana strode into the console room and stopped suddenly. There was a horrible smell coming from somewhere. She glance around and found a large mound of compost-like material settling on the console. Adric must have been sick again! She spied the Doctor and Adric and suddenly realised she hadn't asked K9 what the emergency was.

“What's the life threatening situation?” she asked the Doctor.

“Oh, just the small matter of a third of my TARDIS having been jettisoned,” came the reply.

“What or who caused that?” enquired Romana.

“Adric's icecream,” muttered the Doctor, pointing in the direction of the small brown mound.

Romana looked confused, mainly because she was. “I think I'll go back to bed. My dreams make more sense than you do, Doctor,” she announced.

“I.. .I tripped,” stammered Adric.

“Shut up, Adric,” shouted the Doctor and Romana in unison.

“Now, Doctor. what the hell is going on?” demanded Romana.

“This fool,” said the Doctor, indicating Adric, “tripped, and his icecream triggered off the jettison button which in turn removed most of the outer rooms of the TARDIS.”

It was times like these that Adric wished he could curl up and die. It was times like these when everyone else wished he would.

“What, apart from a bit of lost jogging space, are our immediate problems?” Romana asked.

“Well...” the Doctor said thoughtfully, savouring the dark and mysterious way he could say a simple word like 'well' and deciding it would be pretty damn impressive if he said it again, “well, frankly, I have no idea.”

Suddenly a low, terrible rumbling sounded throughout the room, causing the three humanoids and one metal dog to cower in the corner.

“Sorry everyone, just my stomach,” joked Adric, who was trying to look reassured but failing miserably. All he received were stony stares.

“I don't know what that was, but only my laundryman will know how scared I was,” whispered Romana.

“K9 give me data explaining what is happening to us,” commanded the Doctor.

“It appears that the TARDIS is collapsing, unable to cope with such a serious loss of component parts - ie one third of its mass,” burbled K9 cheerfully.

The Doctor hated K9. Whenever doom or disaster raised its head K9 would cheerfully inform them there was no way they could avoid destruction and whenever the Doctor required important information the little metal doom merchant suddenly had no information on the subject. The Doctor had given serious thought to dropping K9 off at Plonka, the planet they had last visited where they had met a mad scientist intent on marketing mobile ashtrays based on K9's design.

Unfortunately the poor chap was so loony he had swallowed his own laser scalpel while chasing K9, thereby performing his own biopsy.

The Doctor gave K9 a savage kick. “Sorry, K9, my foot slipped,” he lied.

K9 retreated into a corner, deliberately leaking oil on the floor.

“Well that's it then,” Romana said, “we're doomed.”

The TARDIS let out a groan as if to affirm her diagnosis of the situation.

“Cobblers,” said the Doctor, “I refuse to accept that,” and he set about switching switches and pushing buttons.

Adric was upset and frightened and when he became upset and frightened he became hungry. He'd once had a wonderful recipe for Goanna giblets but he'd seemed to have misplaced it in a pot of soup somewhere. He produced a hip flask of Miami wine cooler and took large sips just to prove he could handle his drink.

“I have it,” cried the Doctor.

“What, my recipe for Goanna giblets?” asked Adric.

“Shut up, you prat,” snapped Romana.

The Doctor continued: “We simply align the poxyletrisnic avionalistated brachionism at sixty degree angles and the remaining structure will compensate for the lost rooms to create dimensional equity.”

“But...but...I don't understand, it all sounds like gibberish to me,” stammered Romana.

“It is, but with any luck, we'll suck in the readers. So keep your mouth shut,” hissed the Doctor.

“This has all been too much for my bladder,” whined Adric, dropping his flask of wine cooler and running for the little boys' room. Soon after, the TARDIS was in perfect working order, thanks in no small part to the gullibility of a large number of people reading this.

“Well Doctor, that's another crisis over,” beamed Romana, happy for once that she didn't have to run around quarries or expose any cleavage.

“Hmm,” said the Doctor, “I think there is one more room we can axe from the TARDIS while this all wired up.”

A solitary small room appeared on the viewer.

“The TARDIS lavatory??!!” enquired Romana, “but Doctor, Adric is in there...”

The Doctor grinned broadly as a distant shriek was heard.

This item appeared in 25 Years of a Time Lord (January 1989).

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